23 May 2011

Sunday Drive


We went on a beautiful drive Sunday up to an area called Vikos, it should be a hot tourist destination but it is a little difficult to get to so it's not as busy as it should be. The drive wasn't to bad from our location only taking about 2 1/2 hours although within the first 30 Nik had thrown up twice (not the fun part).
These are some shots on the way up to the gorge after leaving Ioanina. Arthur kept stopping the car to get out and take pictures, this was a little upsetting to the kids and myself since we were stuck in the back seat. I couldn't wait to get to our destination the town below Monodentri (one tree) were it got it's name I have no idea, there were a lot of trees.
One reason this area is so interesting and nice is that all of the houses are built with stone including the roofs. A little monotonous (maybe this is what the name meant) but at least they add some color to the windows and doors, mostly blue but some red too.

The stone forest and Vikos gorge our next stop.
Fascinating rock formations that would make a geologist go gaga.
We took another little stop in this wonderful meadow with flowers that the kids could pull out of the ground (not allowed at home).

A photo of Kat didn't make it into this group for some reason I will show it later. Nik above picked about every one of these flowers and spread the seeds around. Kat below on her walk with Dad to the gorge, she's trying to find a place to sit down.

There's the photo, how it got here, well it's cute.

The gorge below, and Nik riding with his head out of the window on the way to Ioanina because I didn't want him to throw up again. He really enjoyed the trip this way I think both kids like having the wind in their faces.

Ioanina has a wonderful castle and lake a great place to eat lunch while sitting next to the lake.
Nik really wanted to go on the boats that cross over to the Island and we would have gone since it was just 4euro's round trip for the adults but the boat going at the time that we were leaving was small and enclosed and not one of the bigger open boats.

18 May 2011

5x7 Folded Card

Rough Edge 5x7 folded card
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07 May 2011

Athens 2011

We went to Athens early on Wednesday for an appointment at the American Embassy on Thursday to get baby Kat's birth abroad certificate. We didn't make a Passport because we won't be going anywhere anytime soon and the kids grow up so fast that the picture won't look like her for very long. The clerk at the Embassy told us that it only takes 10 days to get one so that won't be a problem. (above) Nik looking out the window of the train, it's a 5 hour trip to Athens the first 2.5 hours he pointed and awed over all of the big trucks and work equipment outside of the window. They are building new tracks for a fast train and have put in a whole bunch of new tunnels and bridges, a very big job, considering how mountainous Greece is. Anyone that says that Greece is in recession has not seen all of the big jobs being done and all of the people shopping at the malls.
We only purchased two tickets, kids ride for free on the train until the age of 6, lucky for us that the train didn't get full because I don't think I could have had both kids on my lap. (above) Kat looking over the back of the seat at Daddy, (below) both kids sleeping from all of the excitement and early wake-up.
After getting off of the train we crossed the street to get on the metro to take us to our hotel, it was very close to the American Embassy. Here's an action shot of us walking on one of the best sidewalks you will find in Athens ( for the most part sidewalks are non-existent and very dangerous for strollers).
Eleftherios Park, a very famous ex-prime minister the airport is also named after him.

So here we are at the Athens Mall, we met up with Arthur's cousins they live very close to the area. He hadn't seen one of his cousins in 10 years so it was a good visit. Nik enjoyed going up and down the escalators I wish we had one at our house he would have a grand'ol timeBaby Kat ate two whole pieces of KFC, the picture below is of them both enjoying an ice cream cone.

They had a play center for kids and Nik saw this digger ride that you get in and there are 3 controls one for the arm to go up the other to go right or left and the other to scoop up the balls in the pit. It cost 1euro and lasted 20 minutes, enough time for 3-4 kids to enjoy it, he got off a couple of times and then got back on.
We ate at some wonderful American fast food places, McDonalds, KFC, Taco Bell and Cinnabon. The kids loved every meal and for the first time Nik had some cheeseburger, at all of the previous visits he has not wanted to eat a cheeseburger but I guess seeing his sister smack down on them he decided that they must taste good after all.

But she really enjoyed drinking Nik's juice box and completely finished it this made Nik pretty upset and he was not happy with her for drinking all of the juice and now demands that she have her own box and not share his. (above) finishing the juice box, (below) Nik's very unhappy whiny face.
I have disliked just about every hotel we have stayed at in Greece, this one was a 4 star and was more like a cheap American Motel. First the beds in Greece are not comfortable the "doubles" are two twins pushed together leaving a crack down the middle. The third bed was a pull out couch. The sheets consist of a bottom sheet and then a comforter, no top sheet, it was bloody humid in Athens but we didn't have a top sheet to cover us the comforter are just too hot so I used the bathroom towels and luckily brought the kids their sheets. The bathrooms are always small, this one I had to put the back of my legs up against the toilet in order to close the door. At least this one had a small tub, sometimes they have a shower with no curtain so water gets all over the place. I have become a complete bathroom snob with the addition of kids, if they go in there I want it to be clean, at least this hotel had a fairly clean bathroom I can't say the same for the carpet in the room, Kat got her pants all dirty cleaning (crawling) the floor for the hotel.
(above) her happy face, saying are we getting out of here, let's go (below) munching down on a McD's cheeseburger.
This McDonald's is located right off of Syntagma Square, a stop on the metro line so easy to get to. We walked around Ermou street and stopped at a cafe to have a drink and in good time because 5 minutes after sitting down it just started to pour rain, so much that the streets flooded. Then we had one last bite to eat at McD's, you can't miss out on the 1euro cheeseburger's and milkshakes, cheaper than a tyropita.
I made a video of the picture below we are in front of the Parliament building which is also located at the Syntagma Square metro stop, I will put that video up also.
Katerina enjoying her time in Athens.
We had some time to kill so we sat down and let Nik chase birds, his favorite big city activity since most of the time we keep him close to the carriage and holding our hand.
(below) chasing birds
Last Metro ride before getting on the train to go home. One thing I like about Greek people is their love of children, each metro ride was full but someone would always get up and let me sit down with the kids, very nice. But what I don't like is that they like to touch the kids and some of them go "Psst, Psst, Psst" (spitting on them) to "keep away the evil spirits", YUK! Total Greek tradition though.

01 May 2011


In Greece they use the ladybug a lot to advertise for Easter so her is our lovely daughter in her ladybug outfit from Aunt Jeanie. We are all dressed up to go out and have a candle lit at midnight, the night before Easter but only Nik and I could stay awake.
So Nik and I went to the church at 11:30 but it was to early to have our candle lit so we returned home and then went out again at midnight. We ended up staying up till 1Am boy was I tired.
Here's his silly face when I asked him to smile and a little bit better picture below.
The next morning (Easter day) I guess baby Kat was feeling a little tired too because here she is trying to get her father's morning frappe coffee. We had a small Easter egg hunt at home, Nik enjoyed it immensely and hid the eggs 3 more times, once by himself, then me and his father. No pictures of this, Sorry.
Here's her pretty blue eyes, playing with Daddy's motorbike, great fun and very dirty.
Grandma Katerina did Lamb in the oven with potatoes, both children enjoyed it and so did the adults.
Nik chowing down on the great lunch and a fresh salad, his favorite vegetable the cucumber.
I made a strawberry Charlotte dessert, layers of cake, pudding, whip cream and of course strawberries.